This is WeedWeek, because cannabis news matters.
Deputy U.S. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said the cannabis industry’s legal basis, the Cole Memo, is still in effect. “Maybe there will be changes to it in the future but we’re still operating under that policy, which is an effort to balance the conflicting interests with regard to marijuana.”
The clarification came after Tom Angell broke news that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions had requested Congress not to renew the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment when it expires in September.
The amendment prohibits the Justice department from spending money to block state-legal MED activity; It has been in effect since December 2014. Sessions wrote that it would be inadvisable to hamper the Justice Department, “particularly in the midst of an historic drug epidemic.”
Sessions took a beating in the press for conflating cannabis legalization and the opioid epidemic. Scientific American and Wired piled on.
In Congress, a bipartisan group of lawmakers reintroduced the CARERS Act, that would require the federal government to respect state marijuana laws.
Colorado officials responding to the Sessions letter said they like things as they are. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf promised to protect MED patients from Sessions. Oregon officials discussed the situation with the state’s U.S. attorney.
California attorney general Xavier Becerra (D) said a widescale crackdown is unlikely. Speaking at an industry conference, former Mexican President Vicente Fox said Sessions is “crazy.”
When President Trump signed a spending bill in May, he issued a signing statement essentially giving himself permission to ignore the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment. Sessions letter was the latest sign that the administration wants to pick a fight with cannabis. During the 2016 campaign Trump was a relatively consistent MED supporter.
Sessions also testified to a Senate committee as part of ongoing investigations into the Trump administration.
Trump ally and Russia investigation figure Roger Stone says he’s forming a pro-legalization group to sway Trump. Pro-legalization groups like MPP and legalization appear willing to work with Stone.
The cannabis industry has some concerns about L.A. City Council’s proposed regulations. In L.A. Weekly I found that cannabis businesses in the world’s largest market are increasingly worried about L.A.P.D. raids.
California lawmakers sent new pot rules to Gov. Jerry Brown (D). For more see here.
Massachusetts lawmakers may miss their self-imposed deadline to regulate REC.
A REC deal may still be possible in Vermont.
Pro-pot Colorado Congressman Jared Polis (D) will run for governor.
Weed-oriented cryptocurrency PotCoin, which sent Dennis Rodman to North Korea, said the former NBA star deserves credit for the freeing of an American prisoner. The State Department disagrees.
The U.S. Senate unanimously condemned, but didn’t change, the country’s hemp laws. The Cannabist has more on the hemp industry’s potential.
It’s hard to get MED in New York.
Business Insider says Trump’s decision to take a harder line on Cuba abets cocaine smugglers.
Entrepreneur and pundit Scott Rasmussen scans the industry.